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NFL Draft guide 2018: Cleveland Browns are on the clock

Thursday marks the start of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Credit: Kelvin Kuo, USA TODAY Sports
Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (right) and UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) shake hands after their game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 18, 2017.

This month marks four years since the release of the cult classic and iconic sports movie “Draft Day.”

Thursday also marks the start of the 2018 NFL Draft.

There are many similarities between the two events -- one fictional and one reality -- including the Cleveland Browns owning two first-round draft picks. Journalists/wannabe NFL insiders Mark Bergin, Lara Saavedra and Justin Nunez break down of this year’s draft, which includes several homages to the classic 2014 film.

What’s your tweet-length prediction for this year’s draft?

Mark Bergin: Somehow, New York Jets fans will express their rage even though this year’s draft is at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This is why New York City’s Radio City Music Hall should always host the draft.

Lara Saavedra: Cleveland botches their No. 1 pick and chooses a kicker.

Justin Nunez: It’s always hard to predict how the draft pans out, but the main storyline will be the Browns. Whether it’s good, bad or ugly, they’ll be the talk of the draft.

Who will the Cleveland Browns take with the No. 1 overall pick?

Bergin: My money is on the Browns selecting Wisconsin quarterback Bo Callahan University of Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold with the first overall pick.

Saavedra: Cleveland needs everything -- so any player would be an improvement. I’d take Darnold. I mean, would an Alabama championship team beat Cleveland at this point? Darnold could win them at least one game.

Bergin: Before or after the 2018 NFL Draft? I think Las Vegas would shift the odds in this hypothetical matchup based on what the Browns do the next three days. If the game is played 10 times, Cleveland wins in at least seven of them.

Nunez: Josh Allen because that’s what the Browns do. They desperately reach for quarterbacks and just pray they somehow pan out. Most of the time, they don’t.

Who should the Browns take with the No. 1 overall pick?

Bergin: Is there anyone who thinks there is a better player available in the draft other than Penn State running back Saquon Barkley? I don’t think there’s any way he falls past the New York Giants, who have the second overall pick.

Saavedra: My heart says Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, but how could you pass up Barkley? If you were to create a Frankenstein running back, Barkley would be everything you want.

Editor’s Note: Saavedra is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

Nunez: No one. If I’m allowed to be general manager Kevin Costner aka Sonny Weaver Jr. general manager John Dorsey for a second, I’m trading the first overall pick for the best offer I get. They already have the fourth overall pick, so trade back and give me a slew of other picks to plug the holes in the ever-sinking ship that is the Cleveland Browns.

What’s your favorite storyline headed into the draft?

Bergin: If UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen falls in the draft, I genuinely hope one of the broadcasts bring up his “potential character issues,” which includes when he had a hot tub in his dorm room as a freshman.

Power moves

A post shared by Josh Rosen (@josh3rosen) on

Saavedra: Some NFL executives are worried about Baker Mayfield’s character. Bottom line is they shouldn’t.

The Heisman winner has moxie and those intangibles that make all the difference in the NFL. He’ll win you games, and winning is what matters.

Editor’s Note: Saavedra is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

Nunez: For me, it’s Shaquem Griffin, the outstanding University of Central Florida linebacker. I wanted to make that known before everyone immediately tags him with the “one-handed player” label.

Griffin demonstrated his athletic ability by running a 4.38-second 40-yard dash. The 2016 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year should go in the first round on his talent alone, but he has five fewer fingers than other players in the draft. It’s why he’ll fall to the later rounds.

Either way, he’ll prove the doubters wrong and be a productive starting linebacker in the NFL.

Which quarterback has the biggest bust potential?

Bergin: I’ll go with Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson here. It’s extremely difficult to evaluate quarterbacks before they enter the league, but Jackson falls short on a two key metrics.

1. The Wonderlic test

Jackson scored a 13 on the Wonderlic test. Why does this matter?

There isn’t an active Super Bowl-winning quarterback who scored less than a 25 in the Wonderlic test.

While the Wonderlic test might not matter for some positions, it matters a great deal at quarterback as detailed by Outkick the Coverage’s Clay Travis.

Editor’s Note: Philadelphia Eagles and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Nick Foles scored a 29 in the Wonderlic test. Foles' results aren’t published in the Outkick story because Travis wrote it before Super Bowl 52.

2. Completion percentage less than 60 percent

Jackson improved his completion percentage each year at Louisville, and his accuracy must continue to improve he wants to have success in the NFL. The 2016 Heisman winner completed 57 percent of his passes in three collegiate seasons.

Here is the playoff completion percentage by year for Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks in the last 10 seasons (the year listed is based on when the Super Bowl was played):

2018: Foles 72.6, percent in three playoff games

2017: Tom Brady, 65.5 percent in three playoff games

2016: Peyton Manning, 55.4 percent in three playoff games

2015: Brady, 68.9 percent in three playoff games

2014: Russell Wilson, 63.2 percent in three playoff games

2013: Joe Flacco, 57.9 percent in four playoff games

2012: Eli Manning, 65 percent in four playoff games

2011: Aaron Rodgers, 68.2 percent in four playoff games

2010: Drew Brees, 70.6 percent in three playoff games

2009: Ben Roethlisberger, 60.7 percent in three playoff games

2008: Eli Manning, 60.5 percent in four playoff games

In the last 10 years, Peyton Manning and Flacco are the only two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks with a playoff completion percentage of less than 60 percent during the season they won the Super Bowl.

Saavedra: Teams would be taking a risk if they draft Jackson.

Nunez: Hands down, Josh Allen. He played for Wyoming and he’s never completed more than 60 percent of his passes during any phase of his football carrier, which includes his time in the Mountain West Conference.

He also never beat a Power Five conference team in three games during his college career. Allen is a shiny toy with a rocket arm. However, after a few years of failed tries he’ll turn into another Ryan Mallett, who I’m not even sure is still in the league.

Which network will you watch the draft on?

Bergin: ESPN, the NFL Network and Fox are airing the first round of the draft on Thursday night. I’ll bounce between ESPN and Fox because my cable subscription doesn’t include the NFL Network. However, everyone knows the social media platform known as Twitter is the best place for conversation during live sporting events.

Saavedra: I won’t watch the draft on TV -- just follow the picks on Twitter. I have to be at work at 3 a.m. Brutal for any NFL Draft fan.

Nunez: ESPN. I’ve got the “Watch ESPN” app, so that wins by default.

What’s your all-time favorite draft moment?

Bergin: I love watching the circus when a highly-touted prospect falls in the draft for whatever reason. Aaron Rodgers in 2005 and Brady Quinn in 2007 come to mind.

Saavedra: When Gerald McCoy was drafted third overall to the Bucs in 2010. The moment is priceless.

Nunez: The day the Denver Broncos drafted Tim Tebow with the 25th overall pick on Thursday, April 22, 2010!

If we’re talking actual moves made, it’s when the Washington Redskins basically gave their entire future to the team formerly known as the St. Louis Rams in exchange for the No. 2 overall pick of the 2012 Draft, aka Robert Griffin III.

Mark Bergin is a journalist with 10News WTSP. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email him at mbergin@wtsp.com.

Lara Saavedra is a journalist with 10News WTSP. Follow her on Twitter or email her at lsaavedra@wtsp.com

Justin Nunez is a journalist with 10News WTSP. Follow him on Twitter or email him at jnunez@wtsp.com.

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